Category Archives: United Kingdom

Good food and fabulous views at The Fox Goes Free near Chichester, West Sussex

Tucked away in the small village of Charlton, just off the main road to Chichester, is the Fox Goes Free.  This beautiful village pub is full of character with flint walls, big old oak beams and open fireplaces.  The pub is over 400 years old and has quite a history; it takes its name from the famous Charlton hunt which was started in 1670 when William III would regularly visit the Fox Goes Free with the royal hunting party.  The building still has many of its original features including the old bread oven, inglenook fireplaces and low beamed ceilings.  It is a truly quintessential English pub and has everything you imagine a traditional old ale house would have, including a fantastic orchard inspired garden with views over the South Downs.

The Fox Goes Free is the perfect place for a quick drink, a lazy lunch or an evening meal and over the years has built up a well-deserved reputation for its food.  The kitchen serves up traditional fare including a famous Sunday Roast and a selection of Mediterranean inspired dishes.  Whenever possible they use locally sourced produce and the well stocked bar includes some interesting local real ales and a selection of hand-picked wines. There are two separate dining areas and if you want a table in one of these it is best to book.  One room opens onto the main bar and has a lively casual dining feel to it.  The other is tucked away from the buzz of the bars in a beautiful wood panelled room with a low ceiling, which gives the space a more intimate feel to it.  All offer a bar menu and an À La Carte menu and in the summer the garden is host to the Fox’s infamous barbecues and hog roasts.

As well as good food, excellent local ales and a friendly atmosphere The Fox Goes Free has 5 comfortable rooms and offers Bed and Breakfast.  In fact it’s worth staying here just for the breakfast and view alone!  All this makes the Fox Goes Free a great place to base yourself to explore the area, crash after a day’s hiking or rest after a day at the races or one of the other events held at Goodwood.

Click here for a lovely walk right from door of The Fox Goes Free

For more information about visiting the Fox Goes Free visit: http://www.thefoxgoesfree.com 

For information about Goodwood and the different events it holds visit:  www.goodwood.com

Pub Goodwood West Sussex
The For Goes Free, Charlton, West Sussex

Photography and Credits:  This is an independent review.  I have been a guest at the Fox Goes Free many times over the years and always paid for my stay.  The Fox Goes Free is a true gem.  Photography is care of the Fox Goes Free website and google images.

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Exploring the wild and the rare on Levin Down in West Sussex

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Sussex is the pretty village of Charlton.  It is surrounded by the classic Sussex landscape, made up of a patchwork of meadows, woodlands, heaths, agricultural land and the chalk hills of the South Downs.  This is great walking country and the stunning South Downs Way, a famous walking route that runs from Winchester to Eastbourne, passes close by the village.  The whole South Downs Way is over 100 miles long but it can be easily divided into shorter sections, day walks or included in circular trails that start in nearby villages such as Charlton.  A couple of suggestions are included at the end of this blog post.

One particularly interesting spot near Charlton is Levin Down, a small nature reserve that has been restored to traditional downland habitat. It is a picturesque spot that has been largely untouched by man’s hand.  The name means ‘leave-a-lone hill’ because it is a steep and rugged spot that is almost impossibly to farm.  This rugged landscape has a rich and diverse wildlife and the chalk habitat is home to rare butterflies, plants and birds.  The landscape here changes dramatically with the seasons, which makes it a rewarding place to visit and return to throughout the year.  The whole area along the South Downs Way is fascinating; full of history, pretty villages and wonderful village pubs with beautiful gardens and fantastic views.  The Fox Goes Free is one such place.   It is in the village of Charlton and within easy reach of the South Downs Way via Levin Down.

For those who do not want to walk far, The Fox Goes Free has a gorgeous garden with beautiful views over Levin Down.  Otherwise there are numerous walks from the village that pass through ancient woodlands, chalk grasslands and go up to different vantage points which have amazing views over the Cathedral town of Chichester and towards the sea.  From the village you can also walk up to Goodwood Racecourse and the Trundle.  Here is one of the most dramatic prehistoric hill forts on the South Downs and more magnificent views over the surrounding countryside and all the way to the coast.

Photography credits:  images are from the wildlife trust and national trust via google images.

Below is a selection of resources with suggestions for walks around Levin Down, Charlton and along the South Downs Way:

An excellent selection of walks that take in Levin Down and the South Downs can be found the book:  Day Walks on the South Downs by Deirdre Huston.

A selection of online walks in West Sussex and the South Downs can be found here http://www.fancyfreewalks.org/W.Sussex-SurreyBorders/Singleton.pdf  This circular walk starts in the village of Singleton, and takes in parts of the South Downs Way, including Levin Down and Goodwood.

Finally, below is the brief description of a short walk which starts and finishes at The Fox Goes Free in Charlton.  It first appeared in a Telegraph newspaper in 2014 article click here to access full article.

Explorer map 120: OS Grid Reference SU889130

This route follows a path traversing the south face of Levin Down, north-east through Lady Wood and then due north through the heart of Singleton Forest followed by a hearty westward romp along the South Downs Way to Cocking Down. Head back south along the bridleway that runs down the west side of Westdean woods (hazel coppice and oak) before re-emerging on to open downland with views over Goodwood as you complete the circuit.

 

Fingerpost sign at the top of Levin Down
Fingerpost sign at the top of Levin Down

London – cultural classics and hidden gems

London needs no introduction perhaps; many people are familiar with the city, if not through direct experience then via literature, photography and cinema.  It is a city phenomenally rich in culture and history.  A visitor’s interests will naturally orientate them within the bewildering selection of things to do and our introduction can only begin to scratch the surface of what is available.  With this in mind we offer a view of the city through a very personal lens, which we hope may serve as an inspiration.  We have included a small selection of cultural classics and hidden gems that even locals or frequent visitors to the city can easily overlook.

For a first time visitor most of the sights will keep the attention focussed on the central parts of the city, but for the returning visitor the appeal of wandering into the distinctly different parts of the city to seek out the ultimate meal, the latest young designer, a pop-up bar or newest contemporary art gallery or installation will be rewarding.

There are many places to start to explore London; personally I never tire of taking a walk along the river.  One of my favourite stretches, from Lambeth Bridge to Tower Bridge, also includes many of the architectural landmarks that are associated with the city.  This stretch takes you past the Archbishop’s Palace, the London Eye, the Southbank centre, the Tate Modern, Globe Theatre and Borough Market on the South side of the river.  And the Houses of Parliament, Somerset House, St Paul’s and the Tower of London on the North.

London offers an inexhaustible selection of ever changing things to do.  The must do tourist attractions (you can’t beat a trip on the London Eye or a boat ride on the river – however touristy it may be!);  the historic buildings and architecture (from the Houses of Parliament, to the Natural History Museum and the über modern Shard);  the world class museums;  the timeless classics (who can resist afternoon tea at Claridges);  the royal parks, the beautiful English gardens and quirky canals.  Either walk the enchanting tow paths that wind through the city or take the charming little canal boat that runs from Little Venice to Camden Lock (www.londonwaterbus.com); and of course the hidden gems (such as Smiths Square in Westminster or the statue of Samuel Johnson at Temple.  Johnson was a remarkable English 18th century writer who famously said “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”);

And then there is the ever changing selection of exhibitions, plays, concerts and “up-and-coming” “hip” areas to explore.  As in most other major cities these “hip” areas come and go, the rising star of today inevitably loses its allure to the next undiscovered or rediscovered gem. Pop-ups often lead the way to the latest darling that has been crowned “hip” and “up-and-coming”, and London Pop-ups (www.londonpopups.com) is an excellent site to get the latest news and details of different pop-up events around the capital.

For theatre the Donmar, Royal Court, Almeida and Hampstead theatre all offer a refreshing alternative to the traditional West End theatres and the Barbican, St Martins in the Field and Wigmore Hall have outstanding programmes of music throughout the year.

If art is your thing, then you are in for a treat.  Over the last few years London has become the hub for all things to do with modern and contemporary art.  People flock here from all over the world to study it, make it, buy it and see it.  Sotherby’s offer an interesting selection of courses that cover everything you might want to know about art and the art market (www.sothebysinstitute.com).  Freize, now an international phenomenon, started in London (www.frieze.com) and the annual exhibitions shouldn’t be missed.  The Serpentine Gallery (www.serpentinegalleries.org) in Kensington Gardens is also excellent.  With all the attention on contemporary art these days it’s easy to forget the more traditional and well established galleries who continue to serve up a fantastic selection of permanent and carefully curated temporary exhibitions.  The Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Royal Academy, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the V&A are just a few who deliver outstandingly good exhibitions year after year.

One thing is certain, you won’t be short of things to do and see, as Johnson so rightly said “when one is tired of London, one is tired of life”.